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Wednesday, November 7, 2012 - 10:49am

Charter School Roadblocks Remain

It will likely be years before any new charter schools result from the amendment to the state constitution voters approved on Tuesday.

Mark Peevy, who led the state charter school commission before it was ruled unconstitutional last year, says the revived commission will start entertaining proposals in the spring.

"We can expect to see a number of potential schools come to the commission in May," Peevy said. But it would it would be "maybe 2013 but more than likely 2014 before any potential schools would open their doors. So, we’ve got some time to make sure we get this done right."

Peevy says he’s interested in running the commission again, if asked.

Amendment One officially becomes part of the state constitution January 1st, but at least one lawsuit over the wording of the amendment is still pending in Fulton County Superior Court.

The preamble to Amendment One stated, as fact, that the measure expanding the state’s authority to create charter schools would do various uncontroversial things, like "enhance student achievement." Plaintiffs say that gave voters a slanted view of what they were voting on.

Mercer University law professor David Oedel says opponents of Georgia’s constitutional gay marriage ban passed in 2004 tried that very same argument in the courts, to no avail. "And if that past be prologue, then I’d have to say that the chances of this challenge to the charter school amendment [are] less than good," he said.

Oedel says attorneys in this case may find a winning argument if they can prove the preamble is patently inaccurate.